FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands is seeking proposals that will attract new industry and jobs to Kentucky’s Appalachian counties.
Up to $25 million in federal grant money, administered by the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, is available to Kentucky’s Division of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) for pilot projects in Appalachian counties that have the potential to create long-term economic benefits.
Gov. Matt Bevin said the pilot program, now in its fourth year of funding, has been a tremendous opportunity for Appalachian counties to envision and bring to fruition projects that bring jobs and new opportunities to Kentuckians in the region.
“We are grateful for this federal AML allocation that will be designated for economic development projects in our Appalachian counties,” said Bevin. “This is another valuable tool that many Eastern Kentucky communities are utilizing to help revitalize and grow their economies.”
U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers, R-Somerset, a senior member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, who has worked to secure funding for the pilot program each year, said the money is helping Kentucky’s Appalachian region cope with a loss of nearly 13,000 coal mining jobs in recent years.
“This program is revitalizing our coal communities by infusing new funds that can be used to create jobs, boost tourism, advance our workforce, improve our infrastructure and spur innovation in the coalfields of Eastern Kentucky,” Rogers said.
Projects that have received funding in the past include the Silverliner manufacturing facility in the Industrial Park in Pikeville; the Appalachian Wildlife Center on 12,000 acres in Bell County; and the HAAS e-Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute training program in Johnson County.
Counties that are eligible for projects include: Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Greenup, Harlan, Hart, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, McCreary, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.
Project proposals are now being sought. They should include information about the project’s purpose, link to AML, cost, partnerships and/or leveraged funds (if applicable), and any evidence of community improvement and support. Eligible grants recipients are limited to state and local governments, and area development districts, that may subcontract project-related activities as appropriate.
“We are looking for projects that will bring long-term economic and community development benefits to the Appalachian region,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles G. Snavely.